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Flashback to 2001 when Pudsey Congs retained their title, Townville did the double and Baildon won the Priestley Cup

Flashback to 2001 when Pudsey Congs retained their title, Townville did the double and Baildon won the Priestley Cup

 

After Matthew Doidge, above, had steered Pudsey Congs to the first of five successive Bradford League title wins in 2000, the club strengthened their side still further for 2001. Fast bowler Rana Naveed-ul-Hasan was signed as the overseas player after impressing in a brief spell for Lidget Green, while former Derbyshire left arm spinner Glenn Roberts was recruited.

Rana Naveed-ul-Hasan made a huge impression taking 67 wickets as Congs retained the championship by a comfortable 14-point margin from nearest challengers Baildon and Pudsey St Lawrence.

However, Neil Gill beat him in the league bowling averages, finishing second with 44 wickets, while Roberts had a steady first season with 31 wickets.

Babar Butt who had played many seasons in the Yorkshire League with both Rotherham and Doncaster impressed with the bat scoring 594 runs at 39.60. He was a flamboyant batsman who could effortlessly pull a ball one-handed for six.

Other top run-getters were Andrew Bethel (903), James Middlebrook (615), Neil Nicholson (445) and skipper Matthew Doidge (403).

By virtue of being title winners of 2000 they could enter the Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions for 2001, and they duly won it after a thrilling one-run victory in the final at Liversedge against Hanging Heaton.

Congs scored 228, largely thanks to Middlebrook’s vital innings of 63, but struggled in the field against their opponents. However, Gill’s important dismissal of Steve Foster (91) altered the course of the game.

Congs enjoyed an easy passage up to the semi-finals when they faced Huddersfield League Scholes away. The home team posted a challenging 288-5, but this proved to be well in the compass of the Congs as Middlebrook played a brilliant innings of 154 not out.

Fab Five: Neil Gill, Gary Brook, Matthew Doidge, Andy Bethel and Babar Butt featured in all five of Pudsey TheCongs' title wins between 2000 and 2004.

Baildon at the Double

Baildon were runners-up and had a powerful side which included Richard Robinson, left, Simon Davies, Colin Chapman, Mushtaq Ahmed, Matthew Duce and Azhar Abbas. The side’s progressive cricket was deserving of silverware and this was a  chieved with a unique cup double.

Under the leadership of James Goldthorp, they clinched a third Priestley Cup triumph when they defeated Yeadon in a twice-delayed final at Undercliffe. The final was an anti-climax in so far as it was a one-sided affair with Baildon winning by in excess of a 100 runs. Top scorer Simon Davies was deservedly awarded the Man of the Match trophy for getting his side off to a fine start.

Priestley Cup Final-       Baildon 232-9    Yeadon 112

Baildon also won the Heavy Woollen Cup Final against a strong Hanging Heaton side.

Heavy Woollen Cup Final-         Hanging Heaton 206-9   Baildon 207-6

Woodlands might have won 16 major trophies this century, but in 2001 they were debuting in the league, and gaining promotion by virtue of winning the Bowes Section of Division Two.

It was obvious they would not hang about for a more than a season in the lower flight with the likes of Sarfraz Ahmed, Tim Orrell, Russell Murray and Murphy Walwyn. right, in their ranks. Even so, it was an unlikely scenario that they would one day take the mantle of Pudsey Congs.

Two stars in the making were taking part in second team cricket. A 13-year old Adil Rashid took 63 wickets for Bradford & Bingley at a cost of 17.17 runs per wicket.

Another leggie was 15-year old Mark Lawson, who finished second in the league bowling averages with 39 wickets at 11.54 for Farsley.

Hanging Heaton might not have been title contenders, but they had a virtuoso cricketer in Steve Foster, left who topped the bowling averages and came third in the batting. Such a feat made his Sir Learie Constantine All Rounder’s Trophy a mere formality.

Former Yorkshire batsman Ashley Metcalfe (Farsley) won the batting averages with 874 runs at 62.43, while Murphy Walwyn (Woodlands) took the Fastest Fifty award for the sixth time.

 

Townville are hot

Townville's double-winning side of 2001

Townville made a sensational start to the new decade with Central Yorkshire League title wins in 2000 and 2001, coupled with the Jack Hampshire Memorial Trophy in 2001.

 It was improbable, but very worthy, to achieve the classic league and cup double in just their sixth season in the league. Joining from the Pontefract Senior League they had little regard for quiet consolidation in the more senior league.

Townville had the Premier Division title almost wrapped up at the halfway stage in 2001 with a 22-point lead after 11 straight league victories. They had a strong side with Tim Walton, Giles Boothroyd, Andy Ward and Kasif Ahmed scoring runs heavily throughout the season.

Pakistani Ahmed had played 38 First Class games in his own country, mainly as a batsman with a career best score of 111 not out. Although he was regarded as only an occasional off spinner he excelled with the ball at Townville.

His worth to the team was illustrated by his match-winning performance against Wakefield Thornes when he took 5-50 with the ball before striking 50 not out.

Other notable players in the 2001 team were Adam Walton, David Bradbrook and the immaculate seamer John Rickers.

As entrants to the Black Sheep Yorkshire Champions Trophy by virtue of winning the title in 2000, they had a mixed experience. They easily defeated Guiseley in the First Round with Ward (76) top scoring in a total of 239-7, before bowling their opponents out for 109. It was a different matter in the next round as Hanging Heaton reached 214-4, and then bowled Townville out for 148.

However, they found ample consolation when they beat Birstall in the final of the Jack Hampshire Memorial Trophy at Carlton.

Northowram Fields gained promotion to the Central Yorkshire League Premier League in 2001, after they had employed a Pakistani overseas player in Rao Iftikar Anjum, left.

Principally a fast bowler, he could bowl reverse-swing and had immaculate control over his yorkers. It was a successful move as he took 75 wickets at an average of 11.00, and he was largely instrumental in earning the club promotion to the premier league.

Anjum went on to play with great success for Spen Victoria in the Bradford League. He had a very fruitful First Class career taking 503 wickets at 23.60, and also had a  best score of 78. His career progressed to international level where he played one test match and one ODI.

For Northowram Fields, it was a major triumph to reach the premier league in such a short period of time, and they did preserve their status for a few seasons.

Buttershaw St Paul’s were still in the Bradford Central League, and having lost their top flight status. regained it after winning the Second Division title in 2001.

 

They also enjoyed the rare distinction of lifting the Waddilove Trophy whilst in the lower division - the third time in their history they had lifted the cup.

 

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